SoftBank-backed Tokopedia says generated record $1.3b Ramadan sale

REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tokopedia, an Indonesian e-commerce site backed by SoftBank and Alibaba, said on Wednesday it generated a record $1.3 billion (£1 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) during Ramadan sale, amid soaring demand for online retail.

The company said its biggest sales, recorded on May 17, resulted in a total transaction value that was higher than combined sales from the first six years.

“Those transactions are happening across 97% of sub-districts in Indonesia and involved 5.9 million sellers,” said Tokopedia founder and CEO William Tanuwijaya.

The start-up secured $1.1 billion in a funding round in December, led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Vision Fund and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Sources say Tokopedia is valued at $7 billion.

Shopping for clothes and gifts during the holy month of Ramadan is a significant part of the culture for Indonesia – the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

The Southeast Asian nation of over 260 million people is seen among the most promising global e-commerce markets, buoyed by a younger generation shifting their preference to online shopping.

The Indonesian internet economy reached $27 billion last year and is poised to grow to $100 billion by 2025, according to Google-Temasek 2018 study.

However, its logistical challenges are massive. The country’s 17,000 islands are sprinkled across an area bigger than the European Union, with logistical costs swallowing up around a quarter of Indonesia’s gross domestic product.

Tokopedia’s Ramadan sale success reflects that e-commerce retailers are trying to overcome difficulties faster than expected amid higher usage of smartphones.

Tanuwijaya told reporters that Tokopedia, which does not have its own inventory, was experimenting with artificial intelligence to predict demand and store stock in advance in partnership with warehouse operators.

Rivals Bukalapak and Shoppee have not made their Ramadan sales public.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.